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Old 20-07-2009, 10:02   #1 (permalink)
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Question Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Hello all - although I use to shoot velvia slide film prior to changing to digital I was by no means an expert with regard to technical knowledge when it came to lens (and cameras for that matter!) this still holds true today my question is: to the best of my knowledge most lens seam to be at there sharpest apertures around F8-F11 now on a crop camera body (20d) this is about perfect for obtaining full depth of field for landscape photography with widish angle lens - thinking back to when I shot film I would often use apertures (for the same type of subject matter) from F11-F16 to obtain the same type of depth of field I get now with F8-F11 - am I right in thinking that after about F11 most lens start to suffer from the effects of diffraction and become softer? - if this is the case by changing to a full frame digital camera with comparable lens and wanting full depth of field shots I would not be using my lens's at there sharpest apertures? - I know there is no substitute for good sharp prime lens's, just something I have been wondering about for a wile now...

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Old 20-07-2009, 10:32   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Hmmm...this is not an answer to your question unfortunately but what you said has made me wonder.

If I read this correctly you are saying that the optimal aperture for maximising depth-of-field is around F11-F16. I thought the idea was to use the smallest aperture available? When you say 'after F11' do you mean larger or smaller apertures than F11?

It's probably that I have just misunderstood but I thought it worth asking in case there is something here that I have been doing wrong all these years
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Old 20-07-2009, 11:13   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

All the lens experts say that lens quality does fall off after F11, I think the best lens quality is 5.6 to f8 but I have used lenses wide open and not noticed much difference I allways shoot in Aperture Priority and select the aperture to suit the subject, my lenses are normally set on F8, I try to control d.o.p by using the full scale of my lenses but you also have to focus very carefully as well to get the full effect of d.o.p.
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Old 20-07-2009, 11:16   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Hey Larne - what I was saying was that with a crop censer digital camera and a wide angle lens a full depth of field can be obtained with apertures around the F8-F11 mark and from what I understand this is about the sweet spot for sharpness aperture wise in most lens's - if you are using the smallest aperture your lens will do for wide angle landscape shots I think you will be losing sharpness due to detraction issues not to mention missing out on a much faster shutter speed, when I said "after F11" I was referring to smaller apertures sorry about that
the only time I use the smallest apertures my lens's will do is when I want the slowest possible shutter speed I can get for recording movement in water etc
on a full frame digital camera it is alot easyer to get a smaller depth of field so for obtaining a wider depth of field on the same camera it is necessary to use smaller apertures than on a crop censer camera so I was wondering about using smaller apertures and how this would compare sharpness wise to a crop camera using larger apertures in the lens's sweet spot so to speak - think I will leave it at that I am staring to confuse myself and prob everyone else!
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Old 20-07-2009, 11:27   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

I think you are right MW. Some time back Dave did a comparison on depth of field with FF v crop with regard to wedding photography. From memory the result was that the FF did make it far easier to get the differential focus which makes me think that your point is valid and the FF will require the use of smaller apertures to achieve the same DoF as a crop camera.
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Old 20-07-2009, 11:59   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Thanks for that. It's amazing what you learn even after years. I certainly don't remember anyone ever mentioning this on my C&G photography courses. It may well explain why I continue to struggle with 'soft' landscape photographs compared with my print photo days when I tended to use prime lenses more of the time.

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Old 20-07-2009, 13:22   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Quote:
Hey Larne - what I was saying was that with a crop censer digital camera and a wide angle lens a full depth of field can be obtained with apertures around the F8-F11 mark
Hmmmm, I'm not sure what you're claiming here but, on the face of the words, no.

Depth of field is a constant for any given combination of focal length and circle of confusion, so it doesn't change between formats, unless you also change the circle of confusion. Read up on CoF at Wikipedia, to understand how it affects DoF: Circle of confusion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In general terms, using any lens on a crop sensor camera would be more likely to give you less depth of field at a given aperture, because you have to enlarge the image more and therefor require a smaller CoF.

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Old 20-07-2009, 14:37   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

lol - I had a look at that Wikipedia page and that is way over my head. Good to know someone understands stuff like that.
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Old 21-07-2009, 00:36   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larne View Post
lol - I had a look at that Wikipedia page and that is way over my head. Good to know someone understands stuff like that.
Just reading it gave me a headache!
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Old 21-07-2009, 06:01   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Cheers guys! - all a big help although that Wikipedia page went right over my head as well
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Old 21-07-2009, 19:00   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Righty-ho. Not following all this 'circle of confusion' stuff I decided to take the practical approach. So off went I this afternoon with my camera bag and tripod to run off a set of reference shots.

Kit tested was:

Canon EOS 40D
Canon EOS 10D

Sigma 10-20mm
Sigma 18-200mm IS
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8

The results were interesting.

Firstly, on most lenses I did get the greatest apparent depth of field at the smallest aperture BUT (and it is a big but) both the subject at the focus point and everything else in the image was soft. Increasing the size of the aperture gradually increased the sharpness at the focus point and throughout the image.

What was most interesting was that on virtually all the lenses the sharpest results came at f/13. This was irrespective of focal length (I shot the series at both ends for each of the zoom lenses). The only exception was the 70-200mm f/2.8 where I got maximum sharpness at f/14 at the 70mm end and f/16 at the 200mm end.

What was particularly depressing was to watch the subject at the focus point grow softer again as the aperture continued to widen. The comparison for example between my Sigma 70-200 at f/16 and f/2.8 when zoomed right in at 200mm made me seriously want to cry considering the cost of the lens. Even the 'nifty fifty' didn't do too well wide open, coming in better at f/2.8 than it did at f/1.8 (although I suppose that could have been the autofocus).

If I did it again I would manually focus for each series and leave the AF disabled as it did mess up a few of the shots, although not that many considering I shot over 300 in total (1/3 stop increments which was probably a bit excessive).

So what did I learn? For landscape f/13 seems to be the optimum. Hmmm ... that's what the OP told us. Well there you go.
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Old 21-07-2009, 19:11   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Having used an APS-C sized sensor for a few years (Canon 10D, 20D and 40D), I recently moved over to a full-frame sensor in a Canon 5D MkII (did I happen to mention that before by any chance? ) and can tell you these are ENTIRELY different.

One of the first things that I noticed when using the 5D2, despite being aware what would happen prior to buying it, was how different the depth of field is on a FF sensor. Whereas I would usually have gone to f/4 to get a blurred BG with my 40D, I get roughly the same effect even with F8 on the 5D2.

For landscapes with the 5D2, I would definitely aim for F16 rather than F11 and would happily go out to F22, light permitting. Although lenses do drop off at both extreme ends of their aperture range, it is extremely small on a full-frame sensor and seriously not worth worrying about.

If I remember, when i am in new Zealand, I'll do some comparative landscape shots using a variety of apertures and let you see the different results. Don't hold your breath, got 6 weeks before I go so it'll be a couple of months before I post some.

Well ok, it's 6 weeks, 2 days, 20 hours and 5 minutes until the taxi comes to take us to the train to get to the airport... but who's counting?

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Old 29-07-2009, 07:29   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Here's a link that helps to explain and confirms Larne's tests.
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...on-photography
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Old 29-07-2009, 10:04   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

My understanding is that off the optimum aperture you merely swap one set of aberations for a different set of aberations depending which way you go.. But all this is a bit theoretical. If I want to take a landscape with a rock in the foreground .5m away I go F22 simply because you can't achieve that at F2, horses for courses and all that.
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Old 30-07-2009, 10:58   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

... I am goina stick this thread as Unread, if i can, and come back for another read....
Too much to take in all at once...

I have been re-planning my Pond in the garden and call of work has kept me busy for a week or two, so havnt been near the camera.... I think I may have to start writing some of this down?.....

(Or [ctrl]+[p].......)
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Old 03-08-2009, 00:23   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Full frame vs Crop - Lens question?

Hey guys,don't forget the hyperfocul distance, someone else more educated can explain it,but in simple terms.

focus a third the way into a shot ,when you do this at the right aperture one third this side and two thirds the other side are in focus,

If you focus on infinity you can loose the foreground.
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